Katnook 10-Acres Malbec Coonawarra 2017, 13%, €14.95 (down from 21.95)
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Monday, September 3, 2018
O’Brien’s Cut Deep. Over 100 Wines On Offer
The much anticipated annual sale at O’Brien’s Wine is on since last Saturday and, as you can see, from the examples below, the cuts are mega, 36% in the case of the d’Arenberg. Indeed some price cuts go as deep as 50%.
So, if you fancy a red or a white, something from the Old World or something from the New, something dry, something sweet, O’Brien’s is well worth checking out.
d'Arenberg d'Arrys Shiraz/Grenache McLaren Vale 2015, 14.5%, €13.95 (down from 21.95)
This bottle, with the d’Arenberg stripe, has fragrant fruity aromas. Colour is mid to dark ruby and it is fruity, spicy and fresh on the rewarding palate. Rich but not overpowering with excellent acidity playing a key role. Tannins feature also in a well textured wine. Good finish too and Very Highly Recommended. “A real go-to wine if you are ever stuck for a great bottle at a sensible price.” And they are talking about the original price!
The barrel fermented component is aged on lees to keep the wine fresh while also reducing the oak influence. There is no racking until final blending. This young wine will benefit from decanting and may also be kept for a few years.
Did you know they use foot treading here (two thirds of the way through fermentation)? And fermentation is then completed in a mixture of new and used French and old American oak barriques.
I didn’t know about the foot treading. Nor did I know that all d’Arenberg estate and leased vineyards are NASAA Certified for organic and biodynamic processes. These practices also ensure that yields are kept low with concentrated flavours and excellent natural acidity. And the proof is in this bottle!
Katnook 10-Acres Malbec Coonawarra 2017, 13%, €14.95 (down from 21.95)
This smooth full-bodied Malbec comes not from South America nor from Southern France but from South Australia. Dark ruby is the colour and there are scents of plum with hints of vanilla. Rich flavours of juicy cherry and plum, plus mocha, abound on the palate. Some spice there too. Tannins are ripe and there’s freshness enough. The wine has power enough to smoothly match your steak, or your kangaroo! Highly Recommended.
Katnook Estate is long established in central Coonawarra in an area once known as Fat Land, red fertile lands now called Terra Rossa. in 1890, the land was sold off in 10 acre units and vendor John Riddoch kept the best blocks for himself at Katnook HQ.
I’ll be taking a closer look at some O’Brien whites soon but in the meantime here are a few other bottles worth looking out for.
Gérard Bertrand is a winemaker always seeking out. His Cigalus Red is renowned, a biodynamic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Rich and full bodied this Languedoc gem is down from €38.95 to 29.95. His Domaine de Villemajou is another stalwart, another full-bodied beauty, this a blend of Carignan, Grenache Noir, and Syrah, and is available at €16.95, a saving of four euro.
From Portugal’s Duoro comes the gorgeous Tons de Duorum Red, a wine I enjoyed a few months back. No shortage of ripe fruit flavours on the elegant palate, refreshing with a little spice there too, fine tannins and a lovely soft finish. Another good value wine from the Duoro and even better value now that the price is down from €15.45 to 11.95.
Recently on the blog, I highlighted a couple of wines by Isla and Paul Gordon from Sarabande in Faugeres. One was the Misterioso and this is mainly cherry all the way from the colour to the aromas to the dry finalé. A slash of spice too, fine tannins and well balanced acidity add to the easy-drinking enjoyment. This is now reduced as is their top wine, the Bousigue.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Down Under with O’Brien’sAdvice: Watch those sales!
I always try and keep an eye out for the regular sales at O’Brien’s Wines. Some are quite short-lived. That was the case with their Australian & New Zealand one. But I did make that and bought these two, the Penfolds at 16.76, the D’Arenberg at 15.96. A decent saving and very decent wines indeed. I should follow my own advice more often!
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Seventy Six Shiraz Cabernet 2014, South Australia, 14.5%, €20.95 O’Briens
The name Seventy Six is a tribute to the “original and now legendary 1976” Shiraz Cabernet. This multi-regional blend is Shiraz (c.80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon and is regularly billed as a “retro” wine.
It is a deep red to purple with a lighter rim and the legs are slow to clear (you know why!). There are intense dark fruit aromas and pretty intense on the palate too. Dark fruits, some spice (it has spent 15 months in a mix of old and new (15%) oak, silky tannins and impressive length. Highly Recommended.
Penfolds are master blenders, “able to craft wines of distinction without ever compromising on quality”. Andrew Baldwin is one of their winemakers and, last November, I met him here in Cork and asked for a few tips on starting to explore Penfolds.
Without hesitation, he recommended this very wine because of “its drinkability, lots of fruit”. By the way, he also told me that the Koonunga Hill Chardonnay is “really approachable”. So there’s another tip for you!
D’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2012, McLaren Vale (Australia), 14.6%, €19.45 O’Brien’s Wine
Tasted this early in the year at the Australia Day tasting in Dublin, so I knew I was on to a little beauty.
It is one hundred per cent Shiraz, harvested in small batches, gently crushed and then transferred to open fermenters. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is basket pressed and then aged in a mixture of new and used French and American oak for 12-18 months.
The Footbolt names comes not from the treading but from a favourite racehorse of the Osbourne family. In 1912, Joseph Osbourne made the hard decision to sell his horses to buy d’Arenberg.
Colour is a clean and bright purple. No need to nose the glass here as the aromas - attractive dark berries and plums mainly - come up to meet you. Terrific fruit too on the palate with great balance, tannins are fine, lovely sophie too and a lingering dry finish. Ootbolt is a favourite here and Very Highly Recommended.